statistical jargon

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Tue Jun 5 12:22:53 UTC 2012

On 6/5/12 12:00 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
> I think that the problem with this entry is that it gives too much
> weight to chemical spectral analysis as representing "spectral analysis"
> as a whole.
> Pretty much any quantity which can be represented in a frequency domain
> can have a spectrum, and that spectrum may be analyzed.  Optical or
> infrared spectra are usually what is being analyzed in chemical spectral
> analysis (above); much astronomy is done this way.  Audio spectra may be
> analyzed as well.
I have to agree with Bill, but based primarily on my own experience: I
grew up with my dad's astronomical spectrographs lying around the house.
I didn't learn about chemical spectral analysis (which, ironically, is
what underlies much of astronomical spectroscopy) until I took chemistry
in HS and college.

Again, just another point of agreement with Bill: granted that we have
to give weight to what the earliest cites are talking about, starting
off with more a more general definition like "analysis of a spectrum: as
a) analysis of optical or infrared spectra; b) analysis of audio or
radio spectra. . . ." might be the way to go. I think we have to
recognize that spectroscopy started off with the visible spectrum, and I
*think* the cites will show that. . ..

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society -

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